CHAPTER 1 Missouri Almanac Dedication of the Simon Bolivar Memorial Statue, Bolivar, July 5, 1948. President Harry S Truman, Governor Phil M. Donnelly, and Mayor Doyle C. McCraw stand for the playing of the national anthem. (Missouri State Archives, Commerce and Industrial Development Collection) 12 OFFICIAL MANUAL The City of Jefferson: The Permanent Seat of Government, 1826–2001 THE CITY OF JEFFERSON 13 The City of Jefferson—1826 The First State House “The appearance of the place [is] “`Tis a rough looking city indeed” somewhat fatigueing” The first state building erected in the new Ambivalence, uncertainty, and discomfort capital city was a combination governor’s house hung like clouds of gloom over the Missouri and legislative hall, erected near the site where General Assembly members who gathered in the the Governor’s Mansion now stands. In a City of Jefferson (more commonly known in later November 18, 1826, article, Gunn described the years as “Jefferson City”) for their first official building as a ten-room structure, sixty by forty meeting on the third Monday in November feet, “fronting the Missouri [River], on an emi- 1826. They had become accustomed to the rela- nence of two hundred feet above the level of its tive comfort provided by the much larger settle- waters.” It was in this building fourteen months ment of St. Charles, site of the temporary capital later that Missourians came together for the first since Missouri’s admission to the Union in 1821. statewide political convention held in the new Indeed, calling the place named for the third capital city. In January 1828 a number of the president of the United States a “city” in 1826 state’s residents gathered to endorse the selection reflected a quite liberal use of the term. Jefferson of Tennessean Andrew Jackson as president of City had thirty-one families in 1826 and no more the United States. In addition to choosing than a handful of businesses, including one hotel Jackson as its candidate, the convention, chaired (the Rising Sun), a general store, a gristmill, a dis- by future governor Thomas Reynolds, also nomi- tillery, several tan yards, and multiple dram shops nated Daniel Dunklin to serve as Missouri’s chief and taverns, most of them hastily opened to executive. Although Jackson was elected in accommodate the newly arriving lawmakers. So 1828, Dunklin had to wait until the 1832 elec- ill prepared was the city to host the first meeting tion to be chosen as governor of the state. of lawmakers in the new state capital that a num- ber of legislators were forced to stay in tents. Old Hickory was honored, also, in an annu- More fortunate members, such as Dr. William al celebration held on January 8 of each year Carr Lane, who was also mayor of St. Louis, found outside the new state house. This gathering com- housing with city residents. In a letter written in memorated General Jackson’s decisive victory at 1826, Lane noted that he roomed with “Major the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. One such Ramsay” and that he paid “$4.50 per week celebration nearly ended in disaster when cele- besides something for washing.” Lane’s pay for his brants exploded five pounds of gunpowder in legislative work was $2.25 per day. He noted that front of the Capitol. As the local newspaper “We lodge in a cabin containing 3 beds, such as exclaimed: “Such a report was never heard they are.” He concluded: “I will not detain you before or since in the City of the Hills. It was dis- with details, but sum up all in this—the business tinctly heard at Fulton . . . the Legislature did no of Legislating does not please over much.” business for a week, for there was not glass One of the first institutions established in the enough in the city to refill the windows of the City of Jefferson as a consequence of its status as capitol and wagons had to be sent to neighbor- state capital was a newspaper and printing office ing towns to make out a supply.” owned by Calvin Gunn, who hoped to make Despite the assurances of Calvin Gunn in money by serving the new government’s printing 1826 that “improvements” were the order of the needs. Gunn called his newspaper the day in the City of Jefferson, many people thought Jeffersonian Republican, a title used to describe the members of the political party that arose in that converting this wilderness outpost into a opposition to the Federalists during the last functioning, urban, governmental center was decade of the 18th century. nothing more than a pipe dream. No one cap- tured this sentiment better than John Shriver, a In the first issue of his newspaper (June 24, civil engineer from Baltimore, hired in the late 1826), Gunn wrote “a brief sketch of the City of Jefferson” for “our distant subscribers.” Much of 1820s to survey a national highway from Gunn’s description represented commentary on Wheeling, Virginia, westward to Missouri’s new the physical characteristics of the place, includ- capital. In a letter dated August 9, 1829, Shriver ing “a series of promontories,” where the Capitol, wrote to his brother of his impression of the City Governor’s Mansion, and prison would set subse- of Jefferson: “`Tis a rough looking city indeed, quently, and the “intervening dells” between and one which does not bid fair to become of them that “render the appearance of the place much importance.” Two years later, James S. somewhat fatigueing [sic].” Although the town Rollins visited the City of Jefferson. Some years was still aborning, Gunn assured his readers that afterward, he recalled that the city “was at that “improvements is [sic] the order of the day.” time a small and insignificant village.” 14 OFFICIAL MANUAL Sketch of Jefferson City, c1850 Missouri State Archives making the capital city accessible to all Choosing a Capital Site Missourians would be a major concern of state How had it happened that this seemingly for- legislators for the next 175 years. saken place had been chosen to serve as the cap- In addition to the requirement that the new ital of the state of Missouri? The first Missouri leg- permanent seat of government be on the islature, elected in August 1820, in anticipation of Missouri River and near the mouth of the Osage the state’s admission to the Union, convened in River, legislators decreed that the capital site St. Louis in September 1820. Fourteen state sena- should contain at least four sections (2,560 acres) tors and forty-three representatives chose St. of unclaimed public land, not yet distributed by Charles as the state’s temporary capital and the government of the United States. This last appointed a five-member commission to choose provision excluded a site that many Missourians a permanent seat of government. Eager to ensure thought might be chosen: the town of Cote sans input from all Missourians, legislators specified Dessein, where the commissioners met. Founded that commissioners must be chosen, “one from in 1808 by old stock migrants to the region, Cote each part of the state, and one from the center.” sans Dessein was in southern Callaway County, The five commissioners, James Logan of on the north shore of the Missouri River, and was Wayne County, John Thornton of Howard, Robert in the midst of highly desirable agricultural land. G. Watson of New Madrid, John B. White of The site ultimately chosen to be Missouri’s Pike, and James B. Boone of Montgomery, met at capital city was available largely because it was Cote sans Dessein, in southern Callaway County, deemed by many to be undesirable land: it was on the first Monday in May 1821. Commissioners rocky and hilly, thought by many to be unfit for had been directed by the state constitution to major agricultural production. The commission- choose a site on the Missouri River, within forty ers themselves had referred to this site as “too miles of the mouth of the Osage River. Framers of poor to support any considerable population or the constitution hoped that by placing these geo- extensive settlement.” Thus, almost no one had graphic requirements on the site, they would settled there, making it one of the few places ensure the capital’s central location and its along the Missouri River and near the mouth of accessibility to all Missourians. Ironically, the the Osage that could provide the required Missouri River, which in the 1820s was a major amount of unclaimed land. artery for travel into the interior of the state, Despite the criticism of Jefferson City as the would become in less than a century an obstacle site for Missouri’s permanent seat of government, to gaining easy access to the capital. Indeed, many people held out the hope that the new cap- THE CITY OF JEFFERSON 15 ital city would prosper. Among the supporters of ed $5,000 and a new house was built just to the Jefferson City as a capital site was Gov. John south of the existing combination Capitol and Miller, a native of Virginia who was elected as governor’s home. Gov. Dunklin and his family Missouri’s chief executive in 1826. Gov. Miller occupied the building in 1834. believed that constructing public buildings in Three years later (1837), fire destroyed the Jefferson City would increase the city’s chances state house that had been built in 1826. State of remaining the capital. government moved temporarily into the Cole County Courthouse while a new Capitol was being built on a high bluff west of the site of the A New Residence for the original structure. The Jeffersonian Republican noted in 1838 that “an appropriation for a State Governor and a New House has given entirely a new impulse to busi- Capitol Building ness of every description” in the capital. The paper added, “for every thousand dollars appro- “A new impulse to business of every priated for the improvement of the seat of gov- description” ernment, the State is benefited four thousand, by the increase in value of unsold lots, of which the In 1831, Gov. Miller proposed that the state state is yet a large holder.” build a penitentiary in Jefferson City. Opponents of the plan, many of whom preferred that the penitentiary be built in or near St. Louis, from where, it was assumed, a majority of the inmates Controversies Surrounding would come, delayed passage of a bill authoriz- ing the Jefferson City site until 1833. the Penitentiary Meanwhile, Gov. Miller, who was a bachelor “Where are the many industrious and could live comfortably in two rooms of the mechanics that formerly gave our town state house, was replaced by Gov. Daniel Dunklin of Potosi. The new governor was a mar- life and prosperity” ried man with six children. Soon after his elec- Meanwhile, also, the Missouri State Peniten- tion in August 1832, he began a campaign to tiary was ready finally to receive its first inmates persuade legislators to appropriate money for a in 1836. The placement of the penitentiary in new governor’s residence. The legislature provid- Jefferson City had a dramatic effect upon the Entrance to Missouri State Penitentiary, c1910 Missouri State Archives 16 OFFICIAL MANUAL development of the capital city. Missouri legisla- tors, committed to the Jeffersonian notion of the Antebellum Growth of the need for minimal government (“That government Capital City is best which governs least”) and a low rate of taxation, tried to figure out a way to operate the “Good living, clever fellows, and the prison at the least possible cost to the state. most lovely women in the world” In 1839, legislators placed the penitentiary Despite the charge that “industrious mechan- under a “lease system” that allowed private ics” were bypassing the capital city, Jefferson entrepreneurs to pay the state for the right to City’s population grew steadily during the first manage the prison, in exchange for which they several decades of its existence, reaching a total could hire out the prisoners for their own private of 1,174 by 1840. A glimpse of what one visitor gain. By 1841, an advertisement in the local to the city thought of the capital and its residents Jeffersonian Republican advertised the following can be gleaned from a letter written in 1840 to convict-made goods at the prison: plows, wag- the editor of the Jefferson City Inquirer. The visi- tor, who signed his letter “A Traveller,” noted that ons, carts, drays, trace chains, harness, single- he remained a guest at the City Hotel for more trees, chairs, bureaus, bedsteads, tables and days than he had anticipated because of the other furniture, boots and shoes, bricks, cigars, hotel’s “well filled cellars and larder and most bacon and lard. In addition, the lessees adver- bountiful table.” He praised the state house as a tised prison labor for landscaping and grounds “magnificent and stupendous pile of free stone,” keeping, blacksmithing, house and sign painting, and commented on the beauty of the court- and for “Building of any kind, at a moment’s house, the prison, and a number of private notice.” Even the City of Jefferson used convict dwellings. He commended the capital city to labor. The 1842 minutes of the city’s Board of “traveling bachelors,” in particular, because it Aldermen reveal numerous expenditures for featured “good living, clever fellows and the convict labor on street repair, building construc- most lovely women in the world.” Highlights of tion and furniture. Women sentenced to the “A Traveller’s” stay in Jefferson City included Missouri State Penitentiary during the early viewing a dramatic performance of William Tell 1840s were sometimes hired out to work as and “dancing parties” at the courthouse. domestic servants for local businessmen. Legislators tried to facilitate access to and Working inmates in this way had two unan- communication with Jefferson City in a variety of ticipated consequences. The first, and most obvi- ways, none of which was more important than ous, was that convicts working outside the prison the promotion of the building of a cross-state railroad. While other communities vied in a vari- walls were more likely to escape. A “Report of ety of ways for railroad service to their towns, the Inspectors of the Penitentiary,” issued in sometimes offering large grants of land and 1845, indicated that 50 inmates (28% of the total money, Jefferson City earned access to the Pacific number incarcerated) had escaped over the pre- Railroad by virtue of its status as the capital city vious 20 months. Often townsfolk joined prison of Missouri. The law that authorized the expen- guards in chasing and trying to recapture con- diture of public funds to build a railroad across victs. If the legislature happened to be in session the state, passed in 1849, stipulated that the new when an escape occurred, lawmakers often form of transportation must pass through the cap- adjourned, picked up weapons at the state ital city. Two years later, in anticipation of the armory on the Capitol grounds, and joined the completion of the railroad to Jefferson City, the chase! state capital was connected to St. Louis by tele- The fact of frequent escapes unsettled legisla- graph service. Thus, Missourians between St. tors and local residents alike. Even more unset- Louis and Jefferson City, at least, could know tling, especially for its long-term implications, what was going on in the capital. was the challenge convict labor posed for the free labor system upon which capitalism was based. The editor of the Jeffersonian Republican Political Division in the posed the question this way in 1842: “Where are the many industrious mechanics that formerly Capital City gave our town life and prosperity?” He “Blood up to the armpits” answered, of course, that they had been “driven Political division became apparent in the City away, for want of employment,” because of con- of Jefferson during the 1830s and 1840s, vict labor. The prison, its inmates, and the use of although the anti-Jackson party known as the their labor, would remain sources of controversy Whigs, formed during the mid-1830s, was a in the capital city into the twenty-first century. decidedly minority party in the capital city. In a THE CITY OF JEFFERSON 17 late life reminiscence written in 1901, local A key element of their community was to be “a physician Dr. Robert E. Young recalled an occa- first-class University,” where the Free Soil philos- sion during the 1840 campaign when ophy could be promulgated. Controversy over Democrats drinking at a local saloon decided to the idea of a Free Soil community adjacent to the confront Whigs drinking at another saloon. state capital prompted a heated debate in the hall According to Young, a fight that threatened to of the House of Representatives, with Claiborne leave combatants standing in “blood up to the Fox Jackson, slave owner, Southern sympathizer, armpits” was narrowly averted. Tension between and future governor, leading the fight against the two groups had been exacerbated by a such a development. Although the Land steamboat captain who displayed on his craft a Company purchased a considerable amount of log cabin, the symbol of the presidential cam- property west of the Capitol, the idea of building paign of Whig candidate William Henry a new city never came to fruition. Harrison. Politics became increasingly divided in Missouri and the capital city during the decade The Civil War and a half leading up to the Civil War, especial- ly after the debate over the expansion of slavery “We are living in very stirring times” crystallized in the wake of the Mexican War The Civil War brought interest in and action (1846). The issue of whether or not slavery to the City of Jefferson. Union and Confederate should be allowed in the territory acquired from sympathizers alike hoped to persuade the state of Mexico divided Missourians. Those persons who Missouri to join their side. On the evening of traced their ancestry to the South generally sup- January 3, 1861, newly elected Gov. Claiborne ported the expansion of slavery. Those whose Fox Jackson minced no words in letting ancestors came from the North tended to oppose Missourians know how he felt on the issue. In his it. Recent European immigrants, likewise, often inaugural address, he proclaimed his belief that opposed the expansion of slavery into new terri- “The destiny of the slaveholding States of this tories. Union is one and the same. So long as a state continues to maintain slavery within her limits, it is impossible to separate her fate from that of her The Fight Over Slavery sister States who have the same social organiza- tion.” Gov. Jackson made it clear that he thought “Free Soilers” v. “The Courthouse it was in Missouri’s best interest “to stand by her Clique” sister States, in whose wrongs she participates, The friction intensified when Missouri’s sen- and with whose institutions and people she sym- ior United States Senator, Thomas Hart Benton, pathizes.” defied a directive from the Missouri General Gov. Jackson called for a state convention to Assembly and took a stand against the expan- be held in which delegates could debate and sion of slavery. Benton’s actions divided decide whether or not Missouri should join the Missourians, including residents of the capital aborning Confederacy. The General Assembly set city, into pro- and anti-Benton factions and February 18, 1861, as the date for electing dele- resulted in Benton’s defeat in the 1850 Senate gates to such a convention. By the time that date race. arrived, seven states had seceded from the Union. The fight over the expansion of slavery The state convention met in Jefferson City on prompted a group of capital city residents to try February 28, 1861, but voted almost immediate- to create a new city adjacent to the City of ly to re-convene in St. Louis, where the atmos- Jefferson during the 1850s. Led by German phere was more favorable to the state of Missouri immigrant and physician, Dr. Bernard Bruns, remaining in the Union. After debate on the and prominent local resident Thomas L. Price, issue, delegates to the convention voted over- the anti-expansionist group created the Jefferson whelmingly not to secede. Perturbed but not per- City Land Company and began to buy property suaded by the vote, Gov. Jackson acted to move just west of Jefferson City, from roughly modern- Missouri into the Confederate camp anyway. day Bolivar Street to Gray’s Creek. Included in his machinations was the establish- The Jefferson City Land Company subse- ment of a pro-Southern military encampment in quently launched a campaign to attract “Free St. Louis that bore his name: Camp Jackson. Soilers” to the region, hoping thereby to under- German immigrants living in Jefferson City dur- mine the power of the pro-expansionist “court- ing the early months of the war, widely known house clique” which they claimed had a stran- for their loyalty to the Republican Party and to glehold on local government. The Jefferson City the Union cause, feared reprisal by the governor. Land Company hoped to attract “especially Henrietta Bruns, who lived a block south of the mechanics and manufacturers with machinery.” Capitol, where the governor flew “a tremendous- 18 OFFICIAL MANUAL View of Jefferson City showing new fortifcations and the arrival and departure of troops, Harpers Weekly, Oct. 19, 1861 Missouri State Archives ly large secessionist flag,” watched state militia- made possible because of the disfranchisement men drill on the Capitol grounds and wrote war- of a large number of Democrats who refused to ily to her brother back in Germany, “We are liv- take a loyalty oath to the Union as provided for ing in very stirring times.” by the state provisional government. By June of 1861, federal General Nathaniel Only once during the war was Jefferson City Lyon, Commander of the West, had tired of what seriously threatened by Confederate forces, and he regarded as Jackson’s treasonous activities. that was in October 1864, when General Sterling He led a force of two thousand soldiers to Price, former governor of the state, approached Jefferson City to remove the governor from office the city from the south, only days after his fight and arrest him. Alerted to Lyon’s plan, Gov. at the Battle of Pilot Knob, in Iron County. Jackson escaped the capital city just ahead of the General Price spent the night on the outskirts of Union troops, taking with him the state seal, the capital city, presumably planning his attack. which he intended to use to certify as “official” But the attack on the capital never came. The documents created by his rump government. general and his soldiers bypassed Jefferson City, Among the state officials accompanying Jackson leaving the capital unscathed, and local citizens on his hasty retreat out of town were B.F. Massey, wondering why he had not attacked. Some spec- secretary of state; Alfred W. Morrison, state treas- ulated it was because he did not want to endan- urer; William S. Moseley, state auditor; and, John ger the many friends he had made while he lived F. Huston, register of lands. In addition, at least in the city as governor, from 1853–1857. seven pro-Southern legislators fled with the gov- One consequence of the war for Jefferson ernor. City was that its population grew significantly as Jackson and his cabinet were replaced by a a consequence of an in-migration of people who provisional government, headed by Gov. sought to escape Union and Confederate soldiers Hamilton R. Gamble. Federal troops occupied and their sympathizers who roamed the country- the capital city for the remainder of the war. In side, pillaging and harassing the citizenry. 1862 residents of the City of Jefferson chose the African Americans, in particular, sought safety in German immigrant and Radical Republican Jefferson City, in large part, it seems, because of Bernard Bruns, one of the founders of the the presence there of so many Union soldiers Jefferson City Land Company, as their mayor. and because the so-called “Radical Republi- Bruns’s victory over Democrat C. Clay Ewing was cans” controlled state government. Radical Gov. THE CITY OF JEFFERSON 19 Thomas Fletcher, elected in 1864, supported the arriving in the capital. Over the next several years, Radical position on a number of issues, includ- State Superintendent of Schools Thomas A. Parker, ing the abolition of slavery, access to public edu- also a Radical Republican, tried to establish pub- cation for freedmen, and the right to vote for lic schools for blacks throughout the state. It soon African American males. By January 1865, the became apparent that a shortage of black teachers black population of Jefferson City had grown to was a major obstacle. Black parents did not want 565 persons, an increase of 70% over the num- their children to be taught by whites. ber present just five years earlier. A solution to this problem, proposed by African American political leader James Milton Turner, was to make Lincoln Institute a state sup- Establishing Lincoln ported facility for the training of black teachers. Lincoln received its first state appropriation Institute ($5,000) in 1870 and the use of twenty-five The city’s African American population grew Missouri State Penitentiary inmates to build the even more over the next decade because of the first building on what is now the Lincoln establishment of Lincoln Institute there in the University campus. The school was taken over Fall of 1866. In September 1866, Richard B. entirely by the state in 1879 and continued to be Foster, a white minister from New England who the only state supported institution of higher edu- had served as an officer in the 62nd United cation for African Americans in Missouri until States Colored Infantry, a unit composed of integration occurred in the wake of the U.S. Missouri freedmen, arrived in Jefferson City with Supreme Court’s famous Brown v. Board of Edu- money pledged by the men of his unit to open a cation decision in 1954. school for blacks. Foster had gone first to St. The tenure in office of the Radical Louis, but had run into intense hostility there. He Republicans was short-lived. Democrats com- came to Jefferson City because he believed that plained that Republicans had run up the state the presence in power of Radical Republicans debt to $36 million during the war and that they would guarantee a warmer reception. had used the power of the central government to encroach on local rights and privileges. A Although Foster encountered opposition Democratic governor was elected in 1872 with a among some townsfolk to the idea of establishing promise of restoring fiscal conservatism to state a school for blacks in their city, he was able to government and returning much power back to open the school as a private facility soon after local communities. The 1875 Constitution Creation of a Prison Factory System Fiscal conservatism and local rule were key concepts enshrined in a new constitution adopt- ed by Missouri citizens in 1875. One conse- quence of the effort to cut down on the amount of money needed to run state government was a renewed effort to force convicts to finance their own incarceration. Prison and governmental offi- cials decided to have the state construct factories inside the prison walls, and then negotiate multi- year contracts with private entrepreneurs for the use of convict labor. Gov. John S. Phelps summa- rized the plan in his 1879 message to the General Assembly: “[I]t would seem reasonable to expect the prisoners would not only be able, by their labor, to earn an amount sufficient to support themselves, but also to pay the salaries and wages of the officers and guards.” This new prison factory system brought to Jefferson City a number of entrepreneurs who would not, under other circumstances, have cho- sen the city as a place to set up business. One of James Milton Turner the first of these was August Priesmeyer, president Missouri State Archives and founder of A. Priesmeyer Shoe Co., who 20 OFFICIAL MANUAL moved to Jefferson City in 1874 to open a facto- receptions which were elaborate and character- ry inside the prison walls. Priesmeyer managed istic of a lavish bygone day.” The usual menu was the business largely with the help of his nephew, “chicken salad, oyster patties, olives, beaten bis- Henry F. Priesmeyer, and a Scottish immigrant cuits, ices, cakes, bonbons, and coffee, with named John Tweedie Sr. Tweedie took over the punch served in the sun room by young ladies.” business during the early twentieth century, and On one occasion, the Houchins’ daughter he and successive generations of his family Myrene recalled in 1944, her parents entertained became pillars of the commercial and civic com- two nights in succession, first for legislators and munities of the capital city. then for their Jefferson City friends. A total of Another immigrant to the Jefferson City com- seven hundred people attended these two munity because of the prison factory system was events. Mr. and Mrs. Houchin, their daughter Lester Shepherd Parker, who came to Jefferson Myrene, and her husband, Jack Hobbs, contin- City in 1895 as superintendent and general man- ued to be leading Jefferson City socialites and ager of the Jefferson Shoe Company, a Chicago- civic boosters of the capital city throughout the based business that had been incorporated in first half of the 20th century. Illinois in 1885 and that operated a factory inside the Missouri prison. Parker established his own prison factory in 1896 and subsequently built A New Governor’s one of Jefferson City’s finest homes, a striking Neo-Classical Revival house across the street Mansion Creates a New from the drab and sometimes dangerous prison. Parker became a civic booster and city promoter, Social Atmosphere in the who as an avocational painter and poet, did Capital City much to promote the cultural and artistic health In September 1867, a correspondent for the of the community. St. Louis Republican wrote an extensive piece for Yet another businessman who moved to readers back home on “First Impressions of the Missouri to operate a prison factory was James A. Capital.” Although he acknowledged that many Houchin, who came to Jefferson City from people came to Jefferson City because “here are Illinois in 1890 to take a job as a bookkeeper and gathered and disbursed the public revenues stenographer with the Charles R. Lewis Clothing [and] here are held the reins of public authority,” Manufacturing Company, also a prison factory. he asserted, also, that “The first impressions that In the mid-1890s, Houchin launched his own the city of Jefferson make upon a stranger are effort at establishing a prison industry. His Star generally unfavorable.” Clothing Manufacturing Company became one Why the negative feelings? Because, the of the leading prison factories during the early Republic correspondent asserted, “The town is twentieth century. The Houchins, with the help generally full, more or less, of strangers, attract- of convict labor, erected a magnificent home in ed here by the pressure of urgent business with the 600-block of E. Main St. (later called Capitol the departments and that over, they have no Avenue). The Houchins’ home became an desire to remain.” The fact that so many tran- important social gathering place for politicians. sients visited the city led local residents to treat Presumably because his business was so closely them inhospitably, unless the stranger arrived tied to state government, James Houchin became “recommended or known,” in which case local a political activist, deeply involved in citizens were capable of exhibiting “generous Democratic Party politics throughout the first feeling . . . toward a guest.” Notwithstanding its three decades of the twentieth century. He deficiencies, the correspondent claimed, served as the statewide coordinator of Joseph W. “Society here is refined and cultivated, a large Folk’s successful gubernatorial campaign in mixture of which consists of the families of 1904. In 1912, Houchin sought the Democratic retired officers of State, who have remained here nomination for governor in his own right, but lost attached to the place by its advantages of health, to Elliott Major, who went on to be chosen gov- culture and economy.” ernor in the general election. Houchin tried Many people thought that the capital city again in 1916, this time losing to Frederick became a more hospitable place after Gov. B. Gardner. Gratz Brown and his family moved into a new The Houchins entertained frequently. Soon Governor’s Mansion on January 20, 1872. The after their house was built, they began holding new Mansion, designed by St. Louis architect receptions for members of the legislature and George Ingham Barnett in the fashionable their families during each session. According to Renaissance Revival style, replaced the older a 1944 newspaper article about the Houchin structure just to the south, whose dilapidated house, written on the occasion of its sale, “three condition had become an embarrassment to leg- or four hundred people usually attended these islators. THE CITY OF JEFFERSON 21 Governor’s Mansion Missouri State Archives The new three-story Governor’s Mansion, The opening ball at the Governor’s Mansion with its Great Hall, Double Parlor, and thirteen established the use of the great house as a place bedrooms, was built to entertain and to impress. of hospitality and entertainment in the capital Among the first guests to visit the spacious new city. Party conventions, inaugural balls and other structure was the Grand Duke Alexis, the twen- celebrations were held there. For many years ty-two-year old son of the Russian Czar. The during the late nineteenth-century the grandest Grand Duke, who was returning by train to the gathering in the capital city, at least during the East coast after a buffalo hunting trip in the West, winter months, was a New Year’s Day Ball, was accompanied by General George Armstrong supervised by the state’s adjutant general. Custer. Grand Duke Alexis spoke briefly to the Missouri General Assembly and then he and A less joyous occasion came in 1887, when General Custer joined Gov. Brown and others for Gov. John Sappington Marmaduke died in the an “unostentatious . . . but brilliant” lunch at the Governor’s Mansion on December 18 of that Mansion. Later, the Grand Duke provided many year after a bout with pneumonia. A former gen- residents of the capital city with a rare opportu- eral in the Confederate Army, and the son of an nity to see a royal personage when he received antebellum Missouri governor (Meredith Miles local well-wishers and curiosity seekers at the Marmaduke), the younger Marmaduke was a Madison Hotel, across the street from the popular chief executive. His funeral was the Mansion. most elaborate and well attended state funeral The day after the Grand Duke’s visit, witnessed in Jefferson City prior to the funeral of Governor and Mrs. Brown held a grand ball at Gov. Mel Carnahan in October 2000. Gov. the Mansion to celebrate its official opening. Marmaduke lay in state in the main hall of the Estimates of the number of guests in attendance Governor’s Mansion from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 ranged as high as two thousand, no doubt the p.m. on the day of his funeral. The funeral was largest crowd to gather in the capital city for a conducted in the Mansion by Bishop Daniel S. social event to that date. Although one journalist praised the gathering as “one of the most mag- Tuttle of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri and nificent entertainments which ever occurred the Rev. John Gierlow of Grace Episcopal west of St. Louis,” others present complained of Church in Jefferson City. Newspaper accounts of the gawking, pushing masses who, among other the funeral reported that a procession extended things, “jammed . . . into Mrs. Brown’s beautiful more than a mile, from the Governor’s Mansion rooms . . . particularly the supper room, and on Madison Street to the State Cemetery on East rifled things like a flock of locust.” McCarty Street, where Marmaduke was buried. 22 OFFICIAL MANUAL although the club history suggests that the orga- Other Late Nineteenth- nization’s members quickly learned that they Century Visitors to the could serve the common good by applying the power of their individual and collective intellects Capital City to a search for solutions to the social problems of Two years after Marmaduke’s death, the their day. Denied access to the “normal” avenues noted suffragist Susan B. Anthony visited the cap- of power available to their spouses (voting and ital city and delivered a lecture in the Hall of the office-holding), club women wielded power House of Representatives to Missouri legislators informally, by influencing their husbands, who and an overflow crowd of curiosity seekers and were prominent leaders of the business and gov- supporters on “the question of the enfranchise- ernmental communities, to take action on the ment of women.” Miss Anthony was accompa- issues that concerned them. As the club’s history nied by Mrs. Virginia L. Minor of St. Louis, one of indicates, “Women did not have the right to vote the earliest supporters of the franchise for then but they became expert in getting results women during the post-Civil War generation, another way.” Among the club’s early projects and a long-time president of the Missouri chap- was an effort to help establish a local public ter of the National Woman Suffrage Association. library. Apparently from the beginning, the In announcing Miss Anthony’s presence in the Tuesday Club invited First Ladies of Missouri to state capital, the editor of the local State Tribune join their exclusive organization as honorary commented that “She will not likely make many members. converts, but nevertheless the venerable lecturer is entitled to a respectful hearing.” Arguably, the most popular national political leader to visit the capital city during the 1890s Six years later, perhaps influenced by was the three-time Democratic presidential can- Anthony’s pleas for equality, capital city women didate, William Jennings Bryan. The “Great formed what, arguably, became the most presti- gious women’s club of the twentieth century: the Commoner,” as he was known, made multiple so-called Tuesday Club. The Tuesday Club’s first trips to Jefferson City as both a Chautauqua meeting was held in the home of the Rev. and speaker and as a political campaigner during the Mrs. J.T.M. Johnston. Rev. Johnston was the pas- 1890s. In 1899, for example, he delivered an tor of the local Baptist church. An election was oration on the virtues of “Free Silver” to a crowd held at the first meeting, with Mrs. George B. of five thousand people from the steps of the Macfarlane, wife of a Missouri Supreme Court Capitol. According to a local newspaper account judge, chosen as president. Mrs. Mourton of the event, Bryan, whose speech had taken two Jourdan, whose husband worked in the state hours, “apologized somewhat for trespassing attorney general’s office, was elected vice presi- upon the time of the audience.” Rather than dent. Early club by-laws indicate that the organ- being offended or bored, the crowd responded ization existed primarily “for literary purposes,” with “many calls for him to proceed further.” Missouri River Bridge Opening, 1896 Missouri State Archives THE CITY OF JEFFERSON 23 The Fight Over Removal of the Capital Bridging the Missouri River Bridging the Missouri River The presence and popularity of the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City and the increase in social activities accompanying the “Gay Nineties” notwithstanding, some Missouri residents continued to question the wisdom of retaining the permanent seat of government in Jefferson City. One thing that especially both- ered many of the state’s citizens was the absence of a bridge across the Missouri River into the capital city. The “Big Muddy,” which an earlier generation had seen as a highway for travel to the capital city, had become, in the age of the railroad, an obstacle to access. Fearful of losing the designation as the capi- tal city, a number of businessmen, including the recently arrived entrepreneurs associated with prison industries, launched an effort to build a Hugh Stephens, Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce. bridge across the river. Calling themselves the Missouri State Archives “Commercial Club” (later the name was changed to “Chamber of Commerce”) these men spearheaded an effort to erect a $225,000 toll shop, known as the Tribune Printing Company, bridge across the river. The completion of the and later the Hugh Stephens Printing Company, bridge in February 1896 diminished, if it did not existed primarily to serve the printing needs of end altogether, the criticism of Jefferson City’s state government. status as the capital city. With his place of business only two blocks The favorable climate for business created by east of the Capitol, and engaged in a business the Commercial Club, and the continuing that took him to the Capitol often, Stephens opportunities for doing business with state gov- quickly became a key figure in state and local ernment, made Jefferson City a community of affairs. Ultimately, Stephens was elected to the great hope as the twentieth century dawned. On presidency of the Commercial Club and served May 12, 1900, the Jefferson City Daily Press car- for an unprecedented eight terms. Among his ried an article written by a local reporter who many contributions to his adopted city, and to his offered an assessment of the capital city’s eco- state, was his effort to promote the accessibility nomic viability as it moved into the new centu- of the state capital to all Missourians by means of ry. For much of its existence, the reporter better highways. He was a leading proponent of charged, Jefferson City had the reputation of building U. S. Highways 54, 63, and 50 through being “an old fogy” town run by “old fossils who Missouri, for example, and making sure that had held the town down.” But then, the reporter these important cross-state highways intersected concluded, “the Jefferson City people got a in Jefferson City. move on themselves and galvanized a little life into the old fossils.” In truth, the “life” came more from the out- The Capitol Fire and its siders (such as Priesmeyer, Parker and Houchins) who moved to the capital city because it was the Consequences seat of government, rather than from the “old Tragedy befell Jefferson City and the state of fossils” who had been around a generation or Missouri on the night of February 5, 1911, when more. Among the most progressive of Jefferson a lightning bolt struck the dome of the Capitol. City’s early twentieth century business and com- The ensuing fire could not be contained with fire munity leaders was Hugh Stephens, who moved fighting equipment available. Firefighters and cit- from Columbia to Jefferson City at the turn of the izens alike watched helplessly while the fire century to manage a print shop purchased by his raged out of control. When the heavily timbered father, Edwin W. Stephens, a Boone County dome collapsed into the interior of the Capitol, printer and publisher. The Jefferson City print all present knew that the structure was doomed. 24 OFFICIAL MANUAL A valiant, and largely successful, effort was Adjutant General F.M. Rumboldt, and a number made to retrieve historical documents from the of prominent businessmen who operated facto- burning building. Among the people pressed ries inside the prison. According to a local into service for this dangerous mission was a Jefferson City newspaper of the time, it was com- group of Missouri State Penitentiary inmates. mon during the summer of 1911 “to see crowd- Gov. Herbert S. Hadley commuted the sentences ed excursion trains switched from the Missouri of several of these inmates out of gratitude for Pacific mainline tracks to the Bagnell Branch and their efforts. proceed gingerly over the uncertain roadbed to One consequence of the Capitol fire was a the Country Club, where barbecues had been re-emergence of the debate over whether or not prepared.” Jefferson City should remain the state’s perma- Among the visitors to the Jefferson City nent seat of government. Opponents of the idea Country Club in 1911 was the Republican presi- mounted an effort to oppose the passage of a dent of the United States, William Howard Taft, bond issue aimed at financing the rebuilding of who had traveled to Missouri to attend the State the Capitol. Supporters of retaining the city as Fair. The president and his military aide, Major the site of the capital, led by the city’s Archibald Butt, joined Gov. Hadley and the Rev. Commercial Club, countered with a campaign Paul Talbot, rector of Grace Episcopal Church in of self-promotion. The day after the fire, local Jefferson City, in a round of golf. banker Sam B. Cook took a train to St. Louis to Ultimately, the proponents of keeping the enlist the assistance of key legislative leaders in capital in Jefferson City succeeded. Their victory the quest to retain Jefferson City as the perma- was solidified on August 1, 1911, when nent seat of government. Cook, another “out- Missourians voted by a three-to-one majority to sider” who had a dramatic impact on the capital authorize issuing $3.5 million in bonds to build a city, had moved from Mexico, Missouri, to new Capitol in Jefferson City. Late that night, Jefferson City in 1900, after being elected as sec- when victory appeared certain, a crowd of retary of state. Although defeated for re-election Jefferson City revelers went to Sam Cook’s home, in 1904, Cook opted to remain in the capital a half block south of the Capitol, aroused him city, where, in 1905, he assumed the presidency from his sleep, and persuaded him to march at the of the Central Missouri Trust Company, a bank head of an impromptu parade, celebrating the whose first president was a former Democratic event. Newspaper accounts of the incident indi- governor of the state, Lon V. Stephens. Asked by cate that Cook was clad only in his pajamas, a a newspaper reporter why he had chosen to lounging robe, and slippers, but that his head was make Jefferson City his home, Cook replied, “I adorned with a silk hat and he carried a cane. have for some time been very favorably im- pressed with the State capital, both in a business and a social way. It is one of the most solid towns in the State, and in my judgment there is The New Capitol no city of like population that has so bright and The decision to build a new Capitol building substantial a future.” in Jefferson City had at least one negative effect on Sam Cook’s personal life. The Capitol grounds were expanded greatly, resulting in the destruc- tion of the home he shared with his wife and Formation of the Jefferson three children in the 200-block of Washington City Country Club Street. It would be only one of many displace- ments caused by the building of a new Capitol Sam B. Cook and others apparently used the over the next century. Groundbreaking cere- Jefferson City Country Club to lobby “leaders of monies for the new structure occurred on May 6, public opinion across the state” to support the 1913. Labor problems plagued work on the effort against moving the capital. Organized at a Capitol. Nonetheless, on June 24, 1914, the meeting chaired by Gov. Herbert S. Hadley on building’s cornerstone was laid before a crowd of September 7, 1909, at the Monroe House approximately 12,000 people and on August 12, (dubbed by some contemporaries as “the 1914, a flag raising ceremony celebrated the Republican hotel”), the country club opened on completion of the building’s steel frame. May 8, 1911, with a charter membership of one hundred men. Penitentiary Warden Henry Andrae, one of the charter members, had “arranged a detail of inmates to help clear and Era of World War I construct the golf course.” Gov. Hadley was Work on the new state Capitol neared com- elected as the club’s first president. Other char- pletion in the summer of 1917, just as the United ter members, in addition to Hadley and Andrae, States entered World War I. The decoration and included Attorney General Elliott W. Major, formal dedication of the new structure was THE CITY OF JEFFERSON 25 Completed Missouri State Capitol, 1917 Missouri State Archives delayed as Missourians joined other American women in the country at the time, so the U.S. citizens in gearing up for the war effort. Department of Justice sought a place of confine- Emblematic of the city’s contribution to the ment among the country’s state prisons. war effort was a Fourth of July picnic held at Missouri’s low bid netted it the dubious distinc- McClung Park in 1917. McClung Park, also tion of housing in the capital city the notorious known as State Park Number One, was a state- anarchist and Russian immigrant Emma owned facility named for prison warden D.C. Goldman, and Socialist Kate Richards O’Hare. McClung who used idle convicts to clean up the Goldman and O’Hare were confined in the fifteen-acre piece of state property and turn it state’s women’s prison, a building that fronted on into a state park, complete with park benches, Lafayette Street, inside the walls of the men’s pavilions, and a dance floor where prison bands penitentiary. From the perspective of state prison played for dancing capital citians on weekends officials, these women were anything but model in the summer. According to the Daily Capital prisoners. They complained widely and often, News, special trains and caravans of automo- largely through the medium of letters to newspa- biles brought central Missourians from outlying pers and magazines throughout the country, of communities to the capital city for the July 4, the prison’s shortcomings: its unsanitary living 1917, picnic. The gathering was designed as a conditions, which included the lack of adequate fundraiser sponsored by the newly established bathing facilities, rancid food, and the presence local Red Cross chapter to help in the relief of rats; the drudgery and difficulty of work effort. It attracted a crowd of approximately ten assignments in stifling heat and bone chilling thousand people. cold; and, the general dehumanizing treatment they received at the hands of poorly-trained Support for the war effort was modeled by guards who owed their positions to political con- Gov. Frederick Gardner and Mrs. Gardner, who nections. planted and worked in their “Victory Garden” on Goldman and O’Hare’s time in prison was the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion. helped only slightly by the fact that O’Hare had Likewise, Mrs. Gardner joined with other ladies known and worked with Warden William R. who belonged to the city’s prestigious Tuesday Painter when he had been Missouri’s lieutenant- Club in sewing pajamas and other clothing, as governor. She had met Painter and his wife while well as preparing bandages, for American sol- she was living in St. Louis and working on behalf diers in France. of state minimum wage legislation. O’Hare used World War I and its aftermath brought her acquaintance with Painter to gain access to national, and no doubt unwanted, attention to Gov. Frederick Gardner. Her pleadings to the two Jefferson City in 1918, when the first of two of men, as well as her complaints to U.S. Depart- the most radical women in the country arrived in ment of Justice officials, and her constant letter- the capital city to serve a prison term for violat- writing, led to slight improvements in conditions ing the federal Sedition Act. This law prohibited in the women’s prison. One of the bright spots speaking out against America’s involvement in for O’Hare and her fellow female convicts came World War I. There was no federal prison for in the summer, when they were allowed to walk 26 OFFICIAL MANUAL Prominent men of Jefferson City with Gov. Major, center, at the country club, c1920 Missouri State Archives to McClung Park for Saturday afternoon outings. distilleries in and around Jefferson City. Illicit In the winter, inmates were sometimes shown alcohol was available even in the Capitol. One silent movies on the weekends. No doubt the former legislator recalled in a 1996 memoir that warden and the governor were greatly relieved when he arrived in the capital city in 1935, there when the troublesome prisoners O’Hare and was still talk about “a custom during the dry Goldman were finally released from custody, years of prohibition [that] members [of the legis- Goldman in 1919 and O’Hare in 1920. lature] would bring [to the Capitol] a little home brew, white lightening, and sometimes a little chicken hooch, often called that because it was The Roaring Twenties so strong that if you took a good swallow it would make you lay.” The Jefferson City Country Club continued to be an important place of recreation and relax- The decade of the 1920s had a dark side as ation for Missouri politicians during the era of well. For many, the decade was a time of fear, as World War I and beyond. Like his predecessors nativism, racism and religious bigotry permeated Hadley and Major, Gov. Frederick Gardner the land. One of the most controversial and dis- joined the country club and was selected its turbing gatherings in Jefferson City during the president in 1920. Mrs. Gardner later recalled 1920s occurred in the Missouri State Capitol in how much the governor enjoyed the club: “Mr. February 1924 when a Ku Klux Klan meeting was Gardner found the Country Club a haven of held in the Hall of Representatives. refuge and nothing pleased us more than to go The Klan was a powerful force in American there for a bright soiree with our friends.” The politics during the decade, when it promoted former first lady of Missouri added, “Surely noth- itself as a patriotic organization committed to ing was impossible to the folks who gathered “100% Americanism.” Unlike its counterpart of there—gay and impudent, brave and reckless, the post-Civil War period, the 1920s Klan was impulsive and generous.” not only anti-African American, but also Prohibition dominated the decade of the opposed to immigrants, Jews, and Catholics. twenties, although the Volstead Act was often According to a statement by Heber Nations, ignored in the capital city. Newspapers from the editor of the Jefferson City Daily Post, he was era are filled with accounts of raids upon illegal contacted by Klan members who asked for his THE CITY OF JEFFERSON 27 help in gaining permission to use the Capitol for a anti-Klan forces united to re-elect Mayor Cecil W. Klan meeting. Local newspaper stories of the time Thomas, who established himself as an opponent claim that the capital city had a Klan membership of the Klan during his first term in office. of more than eleven hundred, with one Klan gath- ering at the Merchants Bank Hall attracting a gath- ering of 850 Klansmen. The New Capitol Dedication Nations took the Klan’s request to Harry Woodruff, Commissioner of the Permanent Seat “It was a real big doins” of Government, who, in turn, granted the The formal, belated, dedication of the new request. Later asked to explain his actions, Capitol came on October 6, 1924, in what one Nations said, “I thought local people would be contemporary newspaper referred to as “unques- interested in the attitude of the Klan as expressed tionably the greatest celebration ever held in the by an official representative.” Nations added Capital City.” People from all over the state “that surmise proved correct when the largest began arriving in Jefferson City days in advance audience ever assembled in the legislative hall of the celebration. The Missouri Pacific Railroad greeted the [Klan] speaker Sunday afternoon.” ran special trains at reduced rates to accommo- Both Nations and Woodruff defended the date travelers and a housing committee of local decision to allow the Klan to meet in the Capitol, women coordinated an effort to find rooms for with Nations calling the gathering “entirely patri- them. Existing hotels could not begin to provide otic and scholarly.” The unrepentant Nations stat- enough rooms for all of the visitors. Churches ed that if given the opportunity, he would do the and civic organizations organized to serve same thing over again, adding that “If the great meals, with former prison warden, D.C. membership of the Klan throughout the country McClung, heading a committee to regulate food is composed of citizens of the same high grade prices “to guard against profiteering.” Two days who shape its policies here, it is the greatest before the event, a local newspaper sent out “An patriotic organization in the world.” urgent appeal to all housewives of Jefferson City Not all agreed with Nations, of course. In fact, to order enough groceries today [Saturday] to last many people of both major political parties com- over Sunday and Monday.” All owners of cars plained bitterly of the decision to allow the Klan were urged to leave their vehicles at home. to meet in the Capitol. Indeed, the Klan became The dedication ceremony began on the an important issue in the 1924 gubernatorial morning of October 6 as so many gatherings in election, with the Republicans and their guber- the capital city have always begun: with a natorial candidate, Sam A. Baker, being widely parade. A crowd estimated as high as 25,000 regarded as more anti-Klan than the Democrats. watched as Grand Marshall Colonel Paul Hunt of Baker was elected governor. In Jefferson City, Jefferson City, a World War I veteran, led a two- Capitol Dedication, St. Louis ballet dancers, 1924 Missouri State Archives 28 OFFICIAL MANUAL Highway Department Building, 1931 Missouri State Archives mile-long parade from the Capitol, east on Capitol Avenue to Cherry Street, south to High, Expansion of State and then west, back to the Capitol. The parade Government and Its Impact included fifty floats, bands from all over the state, airplanes and a U. S. Army dirigible, along on the Capital City with 114 county queens, one from each county The splendor and beauty of the new Capitol in the state. Ku Klux Klan members were among made many Missourians want to show off the the groups serving lunch along the parade route. building. For years, for example, the Missouri Their lunch stand was on Capitol Avenue, in Pacific Railroad ran special excursion trains at front of a sign that read “KKK, 100 percent.” reduced rates to Jefferson City so that residents of the state could view the Capitol. That desire to At 2:00 p.m. the throng of people assembled put the Capitol on display, combined with the on the south lawn of the Capitol for several dramatic growth of state government during the hours of speeches by dignitaries, including Gov. 1920s and 1930s, had consequences that would Arthur M. Hyde and four past governors: reverberate throughout the capital city into the Alexander Dockery, Herbert Hadley, Elliott twenty-first century. Major, and Frederick Gardner. David M. Francis A hint of what was to come was contained in was the only living ex-governor unable to attend the capital architects’ expression of regret that the ceremony. Among the speakers, also, was because of the city’s topography and built envi- octogenarian Mrs. Theodosia Thornton Lawson, ronment, the Capitol would be barely visible a daughter of Colonel John Thornton of Clay from southern and eastern approaches to the city. County who more than a century before had The architects’ suggestion was that a number of chaired the commission to select a site for a per- buildings on West High Street, south of the manent seat of government. Capitol, be torn down and that the street be low- At 7:00 p.m. an elaborate historical pageant, ered by several feet. This would, of course, have written and directed by Mrs. Frank Leach of necessitated the destruction of a number of homes and businesses belonging to capital city Sedalia, was presented on the south steps of the residents, as well as the United States Post Office Capitol. The pageant required 2,325 characters and the state Supreme Court building, the latter to depict the history of the state, back to the days of which was erected in 1906. of French and Spanish colonial rule. While the idea of lowering West High Street Unfortunately, the pageant was cut short near its was not implemented, a great many homes and end by a thunderstorm, which also caused the businesses were destroyed by the rapidly planned fireworks display to be cancelled. The expanding state government during the 1920s rain notwithstanding, the day’s activities were and 1930s. The expansion of the Capitol quite memorable. One newspaper summed up grounds, as noted earlier, led to the destruction of the event with this headline: “It Was a Real Big a number of private residences south of the Doins.” Capitol. In addition, in the late 1920s, the State THE CITY OF JEFFERSON 29 of Missouri acquired land east of the Capitol to Missouri state government expanded at only accommodate the building of a structure that a slightly slower rate during the Depression years housed one of the state’s fastest growing bureau- of the 1930s than it had during the previous cracies: the Missouri Highway Department. This, decade. Among the large, new state bureaucra- too, resulted in the destruction of a number of cies created during the 1930s was the State private residences. According to Missouri State Social Security Commission and the Unem- Archivist Kenneth H. Winn, the number of state ployment Compensation Commission, both cre- employees grew by more than 180% during the ated in 1937. Even entry-level state government decade of the 1920s. jobs, some with a six day work week, were In 1929, after several years of discussion by thought to be highly desirable during the difficult civic and political leaders, the City of Jefferson Depression years. In a 1998 interview, Bernard hired the distinguished St. Louis planning firm of Poiry recalled that sixty years earlier, he consid- Harland Bartholomew to assist in its effort to con- ered himself to be extremely fortunate when his front what, arguably, has been the city’s major father’s political connections landed him a job as problem since solidifying its status as the seat of a prison guard. He gladly moved from his government during the early twentieth century: Newton County farm to Jefferson City, where he how to accommodate the expanding needs of an earned $135 per month at the prison. ever-growing government without unduly infring- ing on the lives and property of local residents. In the mid-1930s, with the number of state employees continuing to grow, and most of the Asserting that “The Beautiful Capitol will state’s business still being conducted out of the form the nucleus of future public building devel- Capitol, the state house’s resources were over- opment,” the planners proposed that the state taxed. Bill Barton, who came to Jefferson City in acquire all of the land east of the Capitol to the 1935 as a Republican legislator, recalled that the Governor’s Mansion, including the land occu- pied by Tweedie Footwear Corporation, a shoe Capitol building was so crowded with govern- factory that was the largest non-governmental ment workers that many state employees moved employer in the city, and the Ott Lumber Yard, to temporary office space in the basement so that owned by prominent Jefferson City businessman legislators could occupy their offices. Louis Ott. In addition, the planners proposed A new government office building, known that the state should acquire also land to the west initially as the “State Office Building” (later of the Capitol, at least as far west as Walnut named the Broadway State Office Building) was Street, an area that planners also thought to be erected during the late 1930s with the help of the blighted by commercial and industrial develop- federal government under the auspices of the ment. Acquisition of these properties would Works Progress Administration. Groundbreaking allow the razing of a number of buildings, there- for the 96,000 square foot building occurred on by “eliminat[ing] a large amount of the undesir- March 1, 1938, and the first department was able development which now seriously detracts moved into it on November 18, 1938. Many of from the site and would also provide a large the state offices housed in the Capitol, including amount of open space . . . .” the Missouri State Highway Patrol, created in South of the Capitol, planners proposed the 1931, moved across West High Street to the new creation of a memorial mall and boulevard State Office Building. approach to the state house, which, again, would The capital city’s population grew by 67% require the destruction of a number of buildings, between 1920 and 1940, from 14,490 to including the red brick Missouri Supreme Court 24,268, more than it has grown in any other building, then only about twenty-five years old. twenty-year period in its history since 1850. The planners resurrected the Capitol architects’ With a great many of the immigrants to the city proposal that “The grade on High Street between Jefferson and Broadway should be reduced . . . so coming to take jobs in state government, a need as not to interfere with the view toward the arose for affordable housing within walking dis- Capitol.” Indeed, the planners went so far as to tance of the government buildings. Among the assert that “It would be desirable if eventually both buildings erected in the downtown area was the the Highway and [St. Peter Catholic] church build- Bella Vista Apartment building just four blocks ings could be removed.” The Highway Department east of the Capitol. Another popular apartment building at this time was less than a decade old building of the era erected to accommodate the and St. Peter Church was the spiritual home of lit- large influx of state workers was the Wymore erally thousands of capital city Catholics. City and Apartment complex in the 300-block of state governmental officials would revisit this early Washington Street, just two blocks from the plan time and again over the decades to come as Capitol and one block from the State Office they wrestled with the problem of regulating and Building, and the Tergin Apartment Building in shaping the growth of the capital city. the 300-block of West McCarty Street. 30 OFFICIAL MANUAL registered at the hotel, including Michael Background and Building Mulvoy, a St. Louis fireman, who was in Jefferson of the Hotel Governor City with Captain Egan of Kansas City, promoting the interests of “the firemen’s pension bill.” Housing of legislators and the people who Mulvoy directed the activities of the Jefferson came to Jefferson City to do business with gov- City fire department in its efforts to save the ernmental officials became a serious concern of building. Approximately $50,000 worth of dam- the city’s Chamber of Commerce during the age was done to the structure. Unfortunately, 1920s. One suspects, in fact, that the need for another fire eight years later (on May 3, 1939) such facilities was driven home by the presence totally destroyed the Madison Hotel. of such a large group of people at the 1924 A push for a new hotel to replace the Capitol dedication. Madison, even in the face of the Great De- The dominant hotel in the city that catered to pression economy, was led by Chamber of politicians during the early 1920s was the Commerce president Hugh Stephens. Stephens, Madison Hotel, located on the southwest corner who was also Chairman of the Board of the of the intersection of Capitol Avenue and Exchange National Bank, had as one of his Madison Street, just across from the Governor’s strongest supporters Howard Cook, president of Mansion. Among other uses, this hotel frequent- the rival Central Trust Bank. Stephens, Cook, and ly served as a state convention site for both of their allies, understood that many Missourians the state’s major political parties. Unfortunately, representing a variety of special interests wanted this hotel was severely damaged by fire in to gather in the capital city because it was the February 1931, the consequence of a traveling seat of governmental power. salesman, J.M. Schlitz, smoking in bed. Schlitz On November 9, 1940, Cook wrote to a died in the blaze. More fortunate was Missouri potential developer of his belief that “because of state representative William Hicks, who occu- state conventions and for dozens of other excel- pied a room adjacent to that of Schlitz. lent reasons Jefferson City hotel facilities are not Newspaper accounts of the fire indicate that the nearly ample at the present time.” Cook believed state representative “barely escaped with his that “many other gatherings, large and small, life.” Hicks was rescued by firemen who raised a would naturally come here if comfortable hotel ladder to the window of his room. accommodations could be obtained.” According to local news reports, “Most of the Ten days later, the developer, Bill Berberich, guests of the hotel were members of the legisla- wrote to Hugh Stephens, offering to “build and ture.” In addition, a number of lobbyists were operate a hotel of not less than 145 rooms” whose minimum rates would be $2.00 a night. Berberich also promised a “banquet room seat- ing at tables not less than 400 persons.” The deal was predicated upon the ability of a committee headed by Stephens to acquire the proposed site “free and clear of all encum- brances.” Berberich wanted the group to donate the land to him and to contribute a large amount of cash ($90,000) toward the building project. Stephens organized the campaign to raise the money, but he cautioned Berberich that it was probably best not to let people know that the total project might cost as much as $500,000. Thus, Stephens revealed his awareness of the fact that many Jefferson Citians saw the hotel as a benefit more to state government than to the average City of Jefferson resident. Even many local merchants and retail salesmen doubted Stephens’ claims about the positive effect the hotel would have upon their businesses. Eventually, the money was raised and the hotel was built. Among its most popular features was a basement bar known as the “Rathskeller.” Legislators and lobbyists flocked to the Rath- skeller, dubbed by many as the “Third Chamber” Walthall M. Moore, St. Louis Representative, 3rd (in addition to the House and Senate). Much leg- District, 1924 islative business was transacted at the Rathskeller Missouri State Archives and even in the lobby of the Hotel Governor. THE CITY OF JEFFERSON 31 Indeed, long-time hotel employee Bill Kromer recalled in a 2000 interview that “many pieces of legislation were written and passed right there in the lobby.” Live music and dancing opportunities attracted many area women to the Rathskeller. As a consequence, the Rathskeller also became a favorite place for romantic rendezvous, earning it a second nickname—the “Passion Pit.” One group that was not welcome at the newly built Hotel Governor, or any other place of public accommodation in the capital city, was the state’s African American population, includ- ing blacks who happened to be state legislators. The first African American General Assembly member was Walthall Moore, elected as a Republican from St. Louis City in 1920. From the time that Moore began his term of office in 1921, until the City of Jefferson passed a public accommodations law in the late 1960s, African American legislators were forced to stay either in private homes or in a dormitory on the Lincoln University campus. Long-time Lincoln Univer- sity employees remembered that legislators would stay in a men’s dorm (Allen Hall) and would take their meals with the school’s faculty in the lower level of Schweich Hall. Dr. Thomas D. Pawley III, Emeritus Professor at the universi- ty, recalled in 2001 that in the 1940s, Rep- resentative James McKinley Neal, a Democrat James McKinley Neal, Representative, Jackson Co., 4th from Kansas City, roomed with Professor James District, 1951 Freeman in the latter’s home on Lafayette Street. Missouri State Archives Pawley remembered, also, that Neal would join the faculty in Schweich Hall at lunchtime and a chicken dinner cost sixty-five cents. Beer because he could not obtain lunch in or near the flowed freely in the bar and lots of local girls Capitol building because of his race. showed up to dance with the G.I.’s to music from the jukebox in the barroom corner. Veit’s Restaurant, established as a roadhouse World War II along U. S. Highway 50 in 1941, was discovered by politicians soon after it opened. For years, leg- World War II witnessed action in the capital islators gathered to eat and drink at Veit’s and city on behalf of the war effort, led by Mrs. Phil hammer out the details of legislation. In a 2001 Donnelly, wife of Missouri’s governor. Mrs. interview, Bernadine Veit, who lived in an apart- Donnelly launched a chapter of the Red Cross ment above the restaurant for more than 60 “Gray Ladies” who organized a “Motor Corps” years, recalled that often during the restaurant’s that traveled to Fort Leonard Wood once a week. While at the fort, the Gray Ladies helped soldiers early years, waitresses who were serving law- with letter writing, provided them with cookies makers would come into the kitchen where she and other treats, and simply visited them. A num- was preparing food and announce, “Well, I know ber of the Gray Ladies were spouses of state offi- what bills are going to be passed tomorrow.” cials and government employees. In addition, by More often than not, they were right. Legislators 1943, nearly 700 Cole County women were reg- were not the only politicians who found Veits to ularly providing services to the local Red Cross in their liking: governors also dined there frequent- the form of production of surgical dressings. ly, especially Gov. Warren E. Hearnes, who served as governor of the state from 1965–1973. GI’s at the recently completed Ft. Leonard Wood, in return, often traveled to Jefferson City to dance and drink at the Rathskeller, or at Veit’s Restaurant and Motel on the western edge of the The Post-World War II Years capital city. Soldiers came by the busload on a State government continued to grow during Friday night, after being paid, and stayed the post-World War II years. In March of 1952, throughout the weekend. Two soldiers could the City of Jefferson entered into an agreement share a motel room at Veit’s for six dollars a night with Harland Bartholomew and Associates to 32 OFFICIAL MANUAL number of blocks southeast of the Capitol com- plex, the Employment Security building, which cost $500,000, was the first state office building erected in the City of Jefferson away from the downtown/Capitol area. Indeed, in its 1954 report to the city, Harland Bartholomew cited the building of the Employment Security Building away from the downtown area as a model for future development: “Future state office buildings should be located beyond the central area on sites such as that chosen for the new Employment Security Building.” Harland Bartholomew, in fact, called for a 10 % reduction in the number of state employees in the downtown area over the next two decades in an effort to reduce the parking problem and the general overcrowding in the vicinity of the Capitol. Emergence of the Capital City’s Favorite Son The 1950s also witnessed the rise to the pin- nacle of state political power of a man whose entire life had been shaped by happenings in the capital city. James T. Blair Jr., was elected gover- nor of the state of Missouri in 1956. Although Construction of the Jefferson State Office Building, born in Maysville, Missouri, in 1902, Blair January, 1952 moved to Jefferson City as a child, after his father, Missouri State Archives a former legislator, was chosen to serve on the Missouri Supreme Court. revise and update the City Plan of 1930. Blair attended the public schools of Jefferson Although the city grew modestly (an increase of City, lived in the shadow of the State Capitol, and only 1,278 persons) between 1940 and 1950, played in the Governor’s Mansion with the sons government continued to grow greatly. of Gov. Herbert Hadley. Apparently his desire to According to the report, 27.7% of the city’s labor become Missouri’s governor emerged while he force worked for state government. was still a child and was nurtured by his politi- cian/jurist father. According to the Harland Bartholomew After earning a law degree from Tennessee’s report, a 1950 survey showed state government Cumberland University in 1924, Blair returned to occupying 453,000 square feet of office floor Jefferson City to practice law. He entered politics space, 117,000 of which was in rented quarters in 1925 as a Democratic candidate for city attor- and 33,000 of which was “in corridors and con- ney. His victory in that contest laid the ground- verted quarters and other space not adapted for work for his election to the Missouri House of office use.” According to the survey, 694,000 Representatives in 1928 and 1930. In 1931, Blair square feet of office space was needed, more was chosen as majority floor leader. than twice the space owned by the state in Jefferson City. Blair returned to his law practice in 1932, although he remained active in politics at the One attempt to respond to the need for new local, state, and even national levels. Blair was office space was the erection of a 14-story build- elected mayor of Jefferson City in 1947, resigning ing east of the Capitol and southwest of the the next year to run for the office of lieutenant Governor’s Mansion. A contract for construction governor of Missouri. He served in that position of the building was let on August 28, 1950. for eight years prior to his election as Missouri’s When completed in December 1952, this build- forty-fourth governor. ing (the Jefferson State Office Building) added As governor, James T. Blair championed a 160,000 feet of floor space available to state number of causes, including extending govern- office workers. The building cost $5,500,000. ment aid to disabled persons, improving the effi- A smaller, less expensive structure was built ciency of the state’s welfare system, and champi- at about the same time to house the Missouri oning the needs of the elderly. Arguably, the Division of Employment Security. Located a crowning achievement of his years as governor THE CITY OF JEFFERSON 33 was the creation of the Missouri Commission on town area. State planners, drawing upon the vision Human Rights, an organization whose aim was of long-range planners from the early 1930s, to end racial discrimination and segregation in moved to acquire land and buildings owned by the state. In lobbying for the creation of the com- the Tweedie Footwear Corporation, raze the build- mission before the General Assembly, Blair pro- ings, and replace them with parking lots. claimed that he would “Always and everywhere” Three of the buildings, however, were early- identify himself “with any victim of oppression to-mid-nineteenth century structures that dated or discrimination.” For a time, it appeared to back to the days of the capital city’s importance many that Blair might rise to national political as a steamboat port. Led by Mrs. Elizabeth office during the 1960 election. Instead, Blair Rozier, a Jefferson City preservationist, the retired to his home in the capital city. Sadly, Blair daughter of a former state senator, and the wife and his wife died of carbon monoxide poisoning of a former state legislator, a group of Jefferson in their home in July 1962. Among the Citians began to protest the planned destruction Missourians who attended Blair’s funeral was for- of the buildings at what came to be called the mer President Harry S Truman, Gov. John M. Lohman Landing Site. Dalton, and U.S. Senator Stuart Symington. The fight was long and oftentimes acrimo- nious. Sen. John E. Downs, D-St. Louis, called Lohman’s Landing “a stupid old unimportant Urban Renewal piece of masonry,” and Sen. A. Clifford Jones, R- The 1960s witnessed an intense battle Ladue, argued that the site “has no historical sig- between residents of the capital city who wanted nificance.” Jones added that there were only two to save the city’s historic structures and state gov- historical sites worth saving in Jefferson City: the ernmental officials who wanted to raze buildings Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion. Eventually, to provide more parking spaces for state govern- however, the preservationists won, with the fight ment workers. Harland Bartholomew had con- in the Senate championed by Sen. Omer Avery, cluded in the early 1950s that there were less than D-Troy, and the fight in the House by Rep. three hundred parking spaces in the Capitol area Thomas D. Graham, D-Jefferson City. Instead of and that all of those were needed for legislators being replaced by parking lots, the three build- and visitors. The planning firm concluded then ings were saved and restored in time for the that an additional eleven hundred parking spaces Bicentennial Celebration of the Declaration of were needed for government workers in the down- Independence in July 1976. Lohman’s Landing, c1955 Missouri State Archives 34 OFFICIAL MANUAL Fireworks display at the Missouri State Capitol Missouri State Archives Preservationists were less successful in their by the Capitol West Urban Renewal Project was efforts to save historically significant buildings paved over for parking for state employees. west of the Capitol, in an area that had long been known as “The Millbottom” because of the pres- ence there of multiple gristmills. To be sure, the The Capital City in the area, which had once been a respectable work- ing-class German immigrant neighborhood, had Twenty-First Century become blighted by the mid-1960s. To many residents of the capital city, the Many state and city officials were eager to Capitol West development seemed a fitting clean up the area because of the negative image reminder that their city was, in fact, both a ben- they thought it projected to Capitol visitors. Their eficiary and a victim of its destiny: a community effort, they claimed, was aimed at retaining that existed as a consequence of its status as the Jefferson City as “the showcase of a proud state capital, but a community whose growth Missouri.” The Urban Renewal movement of the and development were dictated by forces over 1960s promised a solution to the problem. By which it had little or no control. the early 1970s, federal, state, and city officials In a very real sense, residents of the City of combined to formulate a plan aimed at relocat- Jefferson had spent the bulk of the nineteenth ing two hundred residents and some sixty busi- century trying to make certain that their town nesses in a roughly one hundred acre area of the would remain the capital city. They spent much Millbottom. All of the buildings would be razed of the twentieth century trying to reconcile them- and replaced with a “Capitol West” development selves to the results of their victory. that would include a vibrant mix of state office As the twenty-first century dawned, new buildings, high-rise luxury apartments, new pri- opportunities appeared. The Missouri General vately operated businesses, and a convention Assembly authorized the movement of the centu- center. Ultimately, it became clear that the plan- ry-and-a-half old penitentiary from the heart of ners’ vision exceeded their resources and their the city to an area just east of the city limits. This capacity to execute their plan. Two new state action created the exciting possibility of state, office buildings and one hotel were built in the county, and city officials working with private area, dramatically increasing the demand for business interests to redevelop the old prison site, parking. The vast majority of the acreage cleared a riverfront tract of more than one hundred acres. THE CITY OF JEFFERSON 35 A second opportunity centered on the out- Brugioni, Dino. The Civil War in Missouri As come of a fifty-year-old debate about whether a Seen From the Capital City. Jefferson City: convention center should be built in the capital Summers Publishing, 1987. city and, if so, where it should be built and who Carnahan, Jean. If Walls Could Talk: The Story should pay for its erection. But with both of these of Missouri’s First Families. Jefferson City: MMPI, possibilities, a nagging question remained: how L.L.C., 1998. many of the capital city’s historic nineteenth and Ford, James E. A History of Jefferson City. early twentieth-century structures would have to Jefferson City: New Day Press, 1938. be sacrificed to achieve the dreams of the twen- Giffen, Jerena East. First Ladies of Missouri: ty-first century visionaries? The challenge for the Their Homes and Their Families. Rev. Ed. present and future remained, then, much as it Jefferson City: Giffen Enterprises, 1996. had been for the past: how to accommodate and _____________ “Jefferson City: A Community nurture the growth of state government while Diminished by its Destiny.” Pioneer Times. Part honoring the rich traditions, culture, and integri- 1, 7 (April 1983): 134-144; Part 2, 7 (July 1983): ty of the capital city and its residents. 262-272. That challenge notwithstanding, the capital History of Cole, Moniteau, Morgan, Benton, city remained in the twenty-first century what it Miller, Maries and Osage Counties, Missouri. had always been: a place where Missourians Chicago: The Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889. came to transact business and to celebrate the Kremer, Gary R. Heartland History: Essays on virtues and values of their state and nation. By the Cultural Heritage of the Central Missouri the year 2001, gatherings such as the annual 4th Region. St. Louis: G. Bradley Publishing, Vol. 1, of July celebration on the Capitol grounds rou- 2000; Vol. 2, 2001. tinely attracted a crowd in excess of the city’s _____________ “Politics, Punishment, and entire population and Missourians who visited Profit: Convict Labor in the Missouri State the capital city boasted of the beauty of their Penitentiary, 1875-1900,” Gateway Heritage. 11 state house. The old image of the City of Jefferson (Spring 1991): 66-75. as a “somewhat fatigueing” place that would likely not amount to much was gone, replaced _____________ “Jefferson City.” Marian M. by a collective memory of 175 years of pride in Ohman. Ed. Twenty Towns: Their Histories, growth and achievement. Town Plans, and Architecture. Columbia: University of Missouri–Columbia, Extension Gary R. Kremer, Professor of History, William Division, 1985. Woods University and former Missouri State _____________ and Thomas E. Gage. “The Archivist. Prison Against the Town: Jefferson City and the Penitentiary in the 19th Century.” Missouri Historical Review. 75 (July 1980): 414-432. For Further Reading Ohman, Marian M. The History of Missouri This essay draws heavily upon my reading of Capitols. Columbia: University of Missouri– newspapers that are housed at The State Columbia, Extension Division, 1982. Historical Society of Missouri, especially those Rader, Perry S. “The Location of the papers that were published in the City of Permanent Seat of Government.” Missouri Jefferson during the nineteenth century and the Historical Review. 21 (October 1926): 9-18. first half of the twentieth century. In addition, I Schroeder, Adolf E. and Carla Schulz- have made use extensively of government Geisberg. Eds. Hold Dear, as Always: Jette, A ger- records compiled by the State of Missouri and man Immigrant Life in Letters. Columbia: the City of Jefferson, housed at the Missouri State University of Missouri Press, 1988. Archives. I have used, also, the interviews with Stout, Laurie A. Somewhere in Time: A 160 former legislators that are a part of the “Politics Year History of Missouri Corrections. Rev. ed. in Missouri” project housed in The State Jefferson City: Missouri Department of Correc- Historical Society of Missouri’s Western tions, 1991. Historical Manuscript Collection. Winn, Kenneth H. “It All Adds Up: Reform Readers who wish to pursue the topic of the and the Erosion of Representative Government in history of the City of Jefferson as the capital of Missouri, 1900–2000.” Julius Johnson. Ed. Official the State of Missouri will find the following pub- Manual: State of Missouri, 1999-2000. Jefferson lications useful: City: Office of the Secretary of State, 1999. Barton, William. Some Stories and Incidents Young, Dr. R.E. Pioneers of High, Water and Under the Capitol Dome During the Last Sixty Main; Reflections of Jefferson City. Jefferson City: Years. Jefferson City. Self-published. 1996. Twelfth State, 1997.
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